We Tested Sports Bras For Months. These 4 Stood Out

We Tested Sports Bras For Months. These 4 Stood Out

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It’s no secret that a supportive and comfortable sports bra is crucial to achieving a great workout, whether you’re headed to hot yoga, taking a spin on the Peloton or training for a marathon.

To help you find the best sports bra for your body and workout preference, we had nine reviewers test 18 popular bras. Our panel put them through months of workouts — both leisurely (errands) and high-octane (running) — and in the end we found four bras that you should absolutely get.

Best overall sports bra

All of our testers — even those with 38G and 36DD chest sizes — found the ultra-supportive Nike Dri-Fit Swoosh to be the most comfortable sports bra they’d ever worn. The soft, breathable, sweat-wicking fabric and simple zip-front design kept everyone comfortable even in high-octane workouts.

Best running sports bra

We love Lululemon’s leggings, and the Lululemon Run Times high-impact sports bra lived up to the company’s reputation with padded, adjustable, crossable straps and sweat-wicking fabric that kept our testers comfortable through high-intensity runs.

Best low-impact sports bra

If you want to stick to low-impact fitness, Lululemon’s dainty Flow Y Nulu racerback bra crafted from the same soft material as its Align leggings is perfect for everything from leisurely strolls to Pilates reformer classes.

Best sports bra for lounging

A sports bra that is as comfortable as it is cute, the Girlfriend Paloma has a racerback design and features a buttery soft fabric made from 79% recycled plastic bottles.

Nike

The Nike Dri-Fit Swoosh Women’s Medium-Support Padded Zip-Front Sports Bra scored our top spot because it checks all the boxes — fit, support, comfort and an ingenious design. Hailed by our reviewers as the most comfortable sports bra they’ve ever worn, the Swoosh’s sweat-wicking Dri-Fit fabric, made from recycled polyester fibers, kept us cool and dry workout after workout. Even during our hardest sessions, the mesh backing kept us feeling cool and the stretch band never retained moisture — a big selling point for anyone who prefers to head straight from working out to running errands. This bra won’t get stinky or gross, and trust us, it’s so comfortable, you’ll want to keep it on straight till bedtime.

The Dri-Fit Swoosh fit all of our testers snugly, supporting larger chests sizes just as easily as smaller ones, with straps that evenly distribute weight without pinching or digging. The bra’s stretchy fabric and band provide a compressive feel — but not constrictive — ensuring that your breasts evenly fill up the bra without any air pockets or empty gaps. In terms of sizing, it comes in XS to 2XL, and we found the measurements to be accurate. One of our reviewers is a 36DD, ordered a large and found it to be her exact size.

The zipper closure turned out to be the best thing about this bra. Not only is it super sturdy, but it keeps breasts securely tucked away. Don’t worry about it coming undone; there’s also a hidden buckle inside the bra providing backup protection. The zipper is a savior post-workout too, making it simple to shed your bra — no more wrangling sweaty fabric over your face and head like traditional bras.

We found the Dri-Fit Swoosh washed beautifully, with the removable insert pads even staying in place after multiple washes and dries. In terms of style, the bra’s simple design is totally worth showing off — the zipper and mesh design details keep it from being boring — and it matches most Nike swoosh-bedecked leggings. And if you absolutely don’t want to show off your sports bra, the zipper lays flat and won’t leave any bumps under your tank or tee.

Ultimately, the Dri-Fit Swoosh won our top honors because of its unmatched comfort and unicorn ability to handle busts of all sizes during workouts of all types, providing maximum support. And it’s cute to boot.

Lululemon

Lululemon’s Run Times is a running-specific encapsulation-style bra that offers complete support for cups B through G during even the most fast-paced road or track workouts. Molded cups lift and separate the breasts, while the thick, padded straps are not only adjustable but also crossable for even more support. The result is a full-coverage bra that not only keeps your bust steadfastly in place but is also so comfortable it can be worn all day. One of our reviewers felt the straps helped to improve her posture during the workday, and that it fit so well she forgot she was wearing a bra.

In addition to adjustable straps, the Run Times has a soft, stretchy hook-and-eye closure band that allows for even more customization. Sized like a traditional bra — most of the five colorways are available in 32B to 42G — the Run Times’ fit is incredibly accurate, with the straps and cups seemingly molding to the body, lifting and supporting the chest without smashing or constricting. Our reviewers attested their bras felt like they were made specifically for them, with zero gaps or awkward space in the cups.

The perforated panels on the front and back keep air flowing throughout, which was a game changer for our running reviewers. And despite the bra’s nylon/Lycra fabric being somewhat thick, we found it successfully wicked sweat from the body during runs and high-intensity workouts.

All in all, this bra was our top pick for running because it offers incredible support for chests of all sizes during high-intensity runs while also keeping users dry and cool.

Lululemon

If the Lululemon Flow Y Nulu Bra Light Support taught us anything during our review process, it was not to judge a book by its cover — or, rather, not to judge a bra by how it looks on the hanger. Made from the brand’s lightweight, buttery soft, four-way stretch “Nulu” fabric (80% nylon, 20% Lycra), the compression-style bra looks flimsy at first. But it offers plenty of support to keep your bust in place for a medium-intensity workout. Our reviewers, a 34C and a 36C, tested it through a variety of exercises — from Pilates reformer and Core Power Yoga classes to treadmill runs and strength training — and found the bra moved with their bodies and stayed ultra supportive with zero bouncing.

That said, design-wise, the wireless bra does offer less coverage than most. Featuring skinny racerback straps, the Flow Y manages to compress the breasts and keep them separated (removable pads help with this) without any pinching or digging at the shoulders or band area. While you can rest assured that you’ll never spill out over the top of this bra, know that cleavage will be on display if you’re wearing it solo. Our reviewers also felt that the bra’s continuous support and compression was a bit much after a few hours — this isn’t our first choice for all-day wear. It excels during your workout, but we found that the band started to feel tight as the day went on, prompting us to take it off.

In terms of wicking, the fabric’s claims hold true. We tested it out during a hot yoga class and the bra kept us dry, despite the fact that we were sweating profusely. Beyond that, the fabric never chafed our skin, and it washed beautifully, with zero pilling after more than a dozen cycles. The bra caters to small cup sizes (A to C) and is available in sizes 2 to 14 (basically ranging from a 28A to a 44C), so larger sizes are out of luck. While both our reviewers found a size 6 adequately fit their chests, we recommend sizing up if you’re on the cusp of two sizes, since the bra has a tight fit. Available in more than a dozen colors and patterns, you can coordinate with a slew of Lululemon leggings and shorts, because who doesn’t love to match?

What stands out the most is this bra’s minimalist design. There are no bells and whistles here — just a great-feeling fabric and simple, flattering silhouette that hugely delivers on support for low- and medium-impact workouts.

Girlfriend Collective

Let’s face it: Not every day is a workout day. But why not ensconce your body in something that is supportive yet incredibly comfortable anyway, such as the Girlfriend Paloma Racerback Bra? Yes, you can throw this bra on for low-impact workouts, but our reviewers unanimously agreed that they preferred it for all-day wear, and tested it while partaking in activities ranging from lounging and running errands to Zooming from home and traveling across the country.

The Paloma is a full-coverage, wireless bra with a longer design than most we tested, with the built-in support band landing mid-torso. It also has a flattering scoop neck and thick racerback straps that evenly distribute the weight of the chest without any digging or pinching.

One Underscored editor likened this bra’s snug, supportive fit to a “nice hug on my chest.” The soft material (made from recycled plastic bottles and spandex) clings to the body, supporting your breasts in a way that is compressive and gentle all at once, with zero riding up — even after a full 10 hours of wear.

The Paloma may not work for everyone, however. The bra is available in sizes XS through 6XL, and while our reviewers with smaller chests (34B and 34C) found the bra’s size and fit to be perfect, our reviewer with a bigger cup size (32H) struggled with the fit — the medium smashed her breasts, but sizing up would have resulted in the band being too large.

The four bras we recommend can cover all your workout needs. From a zippered workhorse that can handle anything to a supportive and adjustable running bra, a skimpier yoga option and a cozy, wear-all-day essential. But what do you need to know before you choose the sports bra that’s best for you?

No matter what size your breasts are, they need proper support when you exercise. Though your chest has pectoral muscles, none of those reside in or support your breasts. Which means you’re going to need some help if you want to stave off the forces of gravity while you move.
First, finding your correct size is key. You can measure around your chest to find the band size, then measure around the largest part of your bust for cup size. Next, you’ll want to consider the type of exercise you’ll be using it for: low impact for things like strength training, yoga, Pilates and walking; medium impact for activities like spinning, skiing or boxing; or high impact for exercise like running, HIIT and Zumba.

Finally, you’ll choose between the three different styles of sports bras. Compression bras restrict breast movement by compressing them against your chest, while encapsulation bras use individual cups to lift breasts, keeping them separate. A combination compression/encapsulation bra offers extra support with a combination of techniques — mainly for larger cup sizes.

There are many factors that go into creating a quality sports bra. To assess them, and to find out how the bras worked over a wide range of sizes, we had nine Underscored staffers review each bra at least four times each over the course of several months. Our testers put each bra through low-, medium- and high-intensity workouts, in addition to a rigorous “lounge” assessment. We relied on the following cat

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